Archives for May 2013

Road HRM Testing

Well, the spring races are done and with my wife’s upcoming recital, and work overload, I’ve been completely swamped with things to do. I haven’t been on the bike in 10 days, which hasn’t happened since January.

Obviously that isn’t for lack of want, just lack of time! As usual!

With the break, I decided to go out for a max HR test today. I used the Time Crunched Training Plan’s CTS Field Test, which is basically a warm up followed by 2 8 minute all out efforts.

As I was rolling out, I could tell that I hadn’t been on the bike in over a week. While legs were fresh, things felt a little rusty and the warm up allowed me to loosen everything up.

The one down side to doing the Field Test here by the house is that Bee Caves is hilly. Well, gradually hilly, but not all flat as would be ideal. I had picked out a section of the road where I could do most of my 8 minutes with as little steeper descents and inclines.

It was a little hard getting into the groove. Again, just felt sluggish from being off the bike. Anyway, my road segment worked out pretty well, although the final 30 seconds or so of the effort are on a pretty good incline. Good thing that I planned to really push as hard as possible during the final 30 seconds anyway!

The only fail of the test was that when I hit the Lap button on my Garmin, it put in a location marker to auto-lap the next time I was there. On my 2nd attempt, I was riding faster than the first and so my auto-lap lapped me at 7:45 instead of 8:00. Oh well!

Here’s the breakdown:

Race Day Recap:
Weigh In: 158 lbs
Test Time: 11AM
Nutrition: Oatmeal & coffee, 1 honey stinger 15 mins before ride, 1/2 water bottle during ride
Temp: 80 degrees
Humidity: 75% (!)
Wind: SSW 4mph (negligible)
Dress: Bibs and short sleeve jersey
Last ride: 9 days prior
CTL: 45.4
TSB: 24.8 (rising)

Time Dist Avg Spd Avg HR Max HR
8:00 2.74 20.5 171 176 98
7:45 2.74 21.2 170 174 98

Given that info, my target HR zones going forward based on 171 AVG HR:

Workout Name % of CTS HR HR Intensity Range (BPM)
Endurance Miles 50-91 86-156
Tempo 88-90 150-154
Steady State 92-94 157-161
Climbing Repeat 95-97 162-166
Power Interval 100+ 171-max

E2 Multisports Zones

Zone % of LTHR HR Intensity Range (BPM)
Zone 1 65-78 111-133
Zone 2 78-89 133-152
Zone 3 89-93 152-159
Zone 4 93-99 159-170
Zone 5 100+ 171-max

President Bush and the W100K

President Bush leading the way

President Bush leading the way


Some pretty great pictures of President Bush with 14 Wounded Warriors during the 3rd annual W100K.

Very cool!

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.576214102423167.1073741831.142236929154222&type=1

The Warda Race – Full lap – TMBRA 2013

The full cat 3 lap for the 2013 TMBRA race.

May 18, 2013

Highlights video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bWbnVWf81Y

Warda Race Report

Bluff Creek Ranch in Warda, Texas is one of those trail destinations I just hasn’t made it out to yet. From what I knew about it from hearsay and a couple of videos, the trail wasn’t really my style. Pretty flat, exposed, un-technical, and wide open.

My assumptions were confirmed when I made it out to pre-ride the course with Kirby on the Thursday before the race. The course was an all out hammerfest and I’m not quite sure how anyone would say it isn’t. I’d like to know what exactly a hammerfest is, if it isn’t Warda!

Early in the season, I had expected to skip Warda for this very reason. But with still needing to get more races to get my 8 races for the series, and not knowing what I’ll be able to make in the Fall, I decided to do the race. Scheduling turned out to make it not a bad day for me to be away, so I felt compelled to go.

Looking at pre-registrations, it looked like some of the top dogs might be passing on the race, so that somewhat fueled my excitement to go to Warda. But that excitement was mis-placed as pretty much everyone showed up for this race, including some additional roadie ringers that I’ll get to in a moment.

My hopes of placing in the top 5 were soon replaced with hopes of finishing in the top 10.

So far in 2013, we have had exemplary weather. With the exception of a rainy and muddy Rocky Hill Roundup, the weather has been generally perfect. No temps in the 90’s, often clear, beautiful 70 degree weather.

Warda deviated from that just a little. Fortunately for us Cat 3 racers, we got to start early in the day as it turned out that many new high temp records were set on this day. Coupled with the heat, it was very humid. I was very thankful that we were getting to go early for this race.

I arrived at the venue in plenty of time to prep up. Warm up went fine and I felt primed and ready to go at the start.

There were 38 in our field, and since I am in the top 10, I was also fortunate to get called up to start on the front line. This is the first front line start I’ve gotten since Mellow Johnny’s!

Sadly, on this course, a front start is only partially helpful. The ‘start loop’ is over a mile long and all of it is easy passing. Even when you get to the single track, there are ample opportunities for passing if you are so inclined.

At the start line, I saw some unfamiliar faces. Many of them sporting that gaunt roadie look. I knew what was coming. Those guys were going to blast the open areas. Hey, more power to ’em, I wasn’t going to burn myself out on the start loop and I knew it.

The whistle blew and the racers were off. Sure enough, the roadies took off. I, and some of my smart brethren, let them go.

Off the line

Off the line

In addition to the heat, today also happened to be a particularly windy day. With winds gusting to over 20mph. The initial start goes with the wind, but it soon does a 180 right into the wind.

Here, I took a lesson from my roadie friends, and found a nice wind blocker to lead me into the wind.

Roadie style!

Roadie style!

We were riding about 20mph on loose gravel into a 15mph headwind. I drafted off of the guy in front of me, working to save some energy before the fun really begins. A couple more roadies charged by the pack and worked their way towards the front.

We all hit the singletrack within 15 seconds of each other and I went in around 10th place. Steve C & David C were right in front of me. We were cruising through the twisty section and I was focusing on riding smoothly more than pounding it out.

Kirby W

Kirby W

It wasn’t long when I came upon Kirby W on the side of the trail. He hopped back on as I passed. I asked what happened and he mentions that one of the roadies had endo’d right in front of him, causing him to topple as well.

The roadie was in front of me and I rode behind him for quite a ways. Several times in the twisty section, he nearly washed out, with his rear tire breaking free. He nearly went down when going for an unsafe pass on David C in a short open section when he hit a log.

Watch that log!

Watch that log!

At any rate, other than riding kinda sketchy, he was riding pretty strong and fast through the singletrack. I concentrated on riding smoothly and spending as little energy as possible through the tight turns and little up and downs.

We managed to overtake 3 more class riders in the single track. Either a roadie in the sketchy turns, or someone who had went a little too hard in the start loop and was paying for it in the single track.

Hammer time!

Hammer time!

We soon popped out into the open and it was time to hit the gas. Well, as much as I can hit the gas at least. Of course, here is another section where the roadies shine. It’s smooth, flat, and wide open. I do my best to draft off of David C while Kirby comes around and heads out.

One saving grace of this section is that when it drops back into the trees, it’s the best part of the course. A short downhill segment that is a lot of fun to ride. Of course, if you can say there is anything technical on this course, this is it and it is here that I am not surprised to find one of the roadies clinging to the hillside.

Roadie down!

Roadie down!

I throw out a quick ‘Are you all right?’, to which he replies ‘Yes’, which is good because I didn’t want to have the moral dilemma of stopping or waiting until I see a course marshall! (Just kidding, I would have gladly stopped!)

The fun downhill is short lived and we again pop out into a field for another long section out in the open. It is a short loop of a hay meadow and then we get to head for the only climb of the course. It is relatively short so I just suffer up it and turn the corner.

Climbing the hill

Climbing the hill

After a short, sketchy down and some navigating some trees, we again pop out for a long 1 mile loop around another field. I am again passed by another roadie. I draft off of him for a while until we turn sideways to the wind, where the gusts break my will and I let him go.

Drafting like a Pro/Cat 1/2!

Drafting like a Cat 2 roadie!

Clicky this link to see road race results for this Cat 2 road racer!

At this point, we’re about 80% of the way through the course and there’s mostly all out hammer the rest of the way. I can tell I’ve burned a lot of my matches despite my attempts to conserve energy. I fade a bit and lose a little of my fire as I figure I’m pretty out of catching anyone else in my group and also have a long lead on anyone behind me. Those big fields give you the opportunity to see anyone who is +/- 1-2 minutes of your position.

I make my way through the last little interesting part of the course, the BMX area and the Roller Coaster. Unfortunately, I’m too drained to really pin it through here and don’t make great time.

As I come out of the Roller Coaster and pop out onto yet another half mile of wide open, I see another from my group. Miguel A is a strong rider and I’m surprised to see him. I’ll later learn he had crashed and that was why I was able to catch up.

At any rate, I latch on. We have another half mile of wide open, into the 15 mph headwind. I grab his wheel and draft, with plans of making it a final sprint finish. Miguel senses my plans and he really starts to hammer. As we near the final stretch, he really puts the hammer down and pushes our pace upwards of 24mph. We’re cooking!

The final little bit is a hard left on very loose gravel. Taking that turn at 20mph is suicide and Miguel pays for it. His wheels wash out and he goes down hard. As I happens, I see his rear end washing out and I think to myself that I am going to go down too. I veer right and roll over his rear wheel and across the course ribbons. Fortunately nobody was standing there and I was able to recover without crashing into anyone.

Miguel goes down hard at 20mph

Miguel goes down hard at 20mph

I roll across the finish in 7th place. The post-race festivities were great. Free Shiner beer and BBQ.

Race video here: Warda Mountain Bike Race Video

Race Day Recap:
Weigh In: 158 lbs
Bike weight: 25.8 lbs
Race Time: 10AM
Nutrition: Oatmeal & coffee, 1 honey stinger 15 mins before race, 1/2 water bottle during race
Weather: Clear and windy, 85 degrees
Dress: Bibs and short sleeve jersey
Week lead in: Normal Tuesday Interval workout, Thursday pre-ride at about 85% pace
RPE: Rode hard, felt great, 100%
CTL: 53.5
TSB: 0.4 (steady)

Addendum: I should state that I do not have anything against roadies or really fit folks. I’m just giving a hard time, as I always do. Roadies amaze me. I don’t have the will to do what they do and I’m just jealous =)

Warda Mountain Bike Race – 2013 TMBRA

Mobile friendly version: http://youtu.be/HtgfrkdfPcA

2013 The Warda Race at Bluff Creek Ranch
May 18, 2013<br [Read more…]

Shredding (tires)

Not too much to report this week. Had a couple of road rides to keep the training going and then tried for a couple of laps at Pace Bend on Saturday.

Roadie Cooper is a roadie

Roadie Cooper is a roadie

I found this pretty interesting. When I went out for my ride last Tuesday, there were numerous contrails all heading nearly directly west. I found it amusing.

Head west, young man!

Head west, young man!

Unfortunately on the first drop from the top of Well Worth It, I heard the all too familiar PSSSSHHHH of a sidewall tear. I try for a little bit to see if the Stan’s will seal it, but to no avail. Putting any amount of pressure in the tire noisily blows out the Stan’s sealant. I decide to put my tube in before I use all of my CO2. I get the tube in and begin airing up. Everything looks good until the tire starts violently loosing pressure again… Uh oh… Did I just noob it up and forget to check for pokey things stuck in the tire? Yup, probably so.

At this point, it doesn’t matter because I only have the one tube, and only 1, now empty, can of CO2. Looks like I’ll be hiking out!

Good thing it was a beautiful day, and fortunately it only ended up being about a mile and a half hike.

I am mostly disappointed with my lack of getting to ride. I was going to go for 2 laps at high tempo to try to give myself an idea of what a CAT2 race would be like.

I had been talking with Kirby just that morning about sidewalls, tires, and my need to get some new rubber on my wheels. According to Strava, my current tires have 950 miles on them. That’s 950 hard rocky, sharp, Texas hill country limestone miles. I’m actually pretty impressed they have lasted this long!

Stans fail

Stans fail

I actually already had new replacement tires in the garage, ready to go, for when this time came. My Ignitor on the front still shows a fair bit of wear left so I’m tempted to leave it on and only replace the rear Crossmark. I guess we’ll see how much time I have this week for doing a tire swap and setup.

So this coming Saturday is the race at Bluff Creek Ranch in Warda. It’s going to be a challenging course for me as it has little elevation change, and appears to be an all out hammerfest. Winning times last year come in around the 35 minute mark. That’s crazy! Averaging 14mph on a mountain bike trail is a little excessive.

I have never ridden out there and am going to try to get out for a pre-ride this coming Thursday, so I guess I’ll be more educated soon!

Big Cedar Mountain Bike Race – 2013 TMBRA

Mobile friendly version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXBm1PQwIWc

2013 Prayer Mountain Pedal Moutain Bike Race at Big Cedar
Men’s [Read more…]

Big Cedar Race Report

Photo by IngotImaging

Photo by IngotImaging

18904_DORBA_BigCedar2013_Shirt_ThumbBig Cedar is the 9th race in the TMBRA State Series. There is only 1 Spring race left, and then 4 more in the Fall.

I really needed to make Big Cedar, as up to this point I have only made 5 races and need to get 8 quality races for my placement in the state series. Currently I’m sitting in 9th place, but I am still 2 races short for point totals. Even when I do get the number of races I need, it’s still going to be tough, if not impossible, to break into the top 6 in the series.

Big Cedar is known for tight and twisty singletrack, with some of the most climbing in the TMBRA series. It had been reported that the course would have around 1200 ft. of climbing over the course of the 8.5 mile lap. It was going to be an interesting race!

After pre-riding the course the day prior, I noted how the ‘start loop’ was very short. Only about 100 yards to the first bit of singletrack. Once you enter the singletrack, you have about 2 and a quarter miles of very tight and twisty singletrack, with very few opportunities for passing.

Getting a good start off of the line and getting into the singletrack in the top slots was going to be paramount. I had decided I was going to all out sprint to the singletrack to be sure I was one of the first 3 to drop in so as not to get slowed down by the jam ups that were sure to happen in the twisty singletrack.

Knowing this, when the top 10 call ups were made, I shimmied up between John E and Steven C. I knew John would blast off of the line and Steven would make sure to at least hold his wheel. I knew that between the two of them, I’d have a clear lane to get right in behind them and likely be the #3 guy into the singletrack.

Big Cedar Line Up

Big Cedar Line Up

The 4 minute stagger was torturous as usual. Those 4 minutes are hell to wait through until the whistle is blown.

When the whistle blew, everyone jammed hard. John blasted off the line and was out front like a rocket, just like I knew he would be.

Unfortunately, something went amiss with Steve’s start. I don’t know if he missed his pedal or someone bumped him or what, but unfortunately for me, where he ended up was right on top of me. He finally got away, but not before nearly taking me out. I barely managed to get unclipped and stabilized enough to keep from crashing out, but in doing so I was WAY back in the pack.

Oh, Hi, Steve!

Oh, Hi, Steve!

I hadn’t been this far back in the pack in any race this year. And this is the worst possible course to be this far back. I hardly have any time to get through this group before the singletrack hits, at which point it is going to be mostly about riding smooth and conserving energy as passes in the first 2 miles are next to impossible.

Pack attack!

Pack attack!

This is not the start I had hoped for, but you play with the hand you’re dealt. I estimated that I was probably between 15 and 20 positions back. I jumped on my horse and mashed as hard as I could before the singletrack.

I managed to pass 4 or 5 guys before we lined up for the singletrack. And came to a dead stop. Again, my worst fears are realized as we are already jamming up and we haven’t even gotten started yet.

Jammed up

Jammed up

I was feeling a bit frustrated at this point, but what are you going to do. I concentrated on riding cleanly and smoothly. I stayed on the wheel of the guy in front of me.

As I progressed down the trail, riders in front of me started making minor errors. Maybe mis-timing a turn, or stalling on a short climb. I was able to make up another 3-4 positions in this segment, just dodging people who were stalled out for any reason.

While I wasn’t where I wanted to be in the pack, I was having a lot of fun. It’s nice to ride through actual forest for a change and the trail conditions suited me well.

On another stalled out climb, I was able to get around another couple of guys, and who do I find myself following? David O’Bryan, yet again. I seem to end up finding myself trailing David quite frequently!

I trail David closely, weaving through the trees, always urging him to stay close to the riders in front of him. Surprising to me, I spot Steve C. and Kirby W. ahead of us. On a little climb that stalls out a copule of riders, David and I take a clean line and manage to pass both Steve and Kirby as well as a couple of other riders I don’t know.

At this point I figure I’m probably somewhere in the 5-10 range, which is nice, but my biggest concern is that the leaders have likely been making fantastic unhindered time through this segment (Copperhead Ridge).

I hold on tight to David’s wheel and know that a long straight doubletrack decent is coming up. I know once we pop out onto this section of trail, it will be time to drop the hammer and fly like the wind and try to get as many passes as possible before the next section of singletrack.

Holding David O'Bryan's Wheel

Holding David O’Bryan’s Wheel

We were cruising fairly well enough, but I was still feeling like I could be opening it up a bit more. At this time we were also starting to hit some of the earlier age group back markers, which started slowing us up some. Fortunately, they were all great about allowing passes. Even still, there was a long line of us all in a row.

Apparently this became a little too frustrating for a couple of guys and as we came around one loop spot, they cut the trail.

This little cut allowed them to jump probably 7-8 positions.

CHEATER!

CHEATER!

The rider marked above came out of the woods 3 positions ahead of me. Unfortunately for him, I knew who he was. Additionally I had a camera running and caught him in the act. There was another rider who I did not know in a black jersey who also cut the trail, but I did not get footage of him as he did not come out in front of me.

Since I knew the guy’s name, I started giving him lots of crap. I called him out on it, first and last named him and let him know it was documented on camera. He aptly gave in and pulled to the side to get back in his ‘right’ place. After the race, he would later tell me that a CAT 1 racer had showed him the ‘line’ and that he was just following a ‘line’ he thought was legal. I’m sorry, that ‘line’ is nothing more than cutting the course, cutting out a good 20-30 yards of a loop and jumping him up numerous positions.

I’ll not name him here, but I’ll say he rides for PACC team. If any PACC members happen to read this, you might consider educating your riders on the difference between a ‘line’ and cutting the course, aka, cheating.

A short bit later, we popped out onto the double track and I dropped the hammer. I was around David O in a heartbeat and blasted down the decent. After passing 2 more riders, the way appeared clear and I pedaled furiously to try to catch the next group of riders.

Ranger Romp - Blast off!

Ranger Romp – Blast off!

This section of doubletrack is actually fairly lengthy, and provides a good amount of trail where you can go wide open. Wide trail, coupled with long and straight and mostly downhill means good speeds.

I eventually caught up with Chris W but I had burned a few matches to get to him. I tucked in behind him and drafted off of him to get a little rest before going into the next bit of singletrack. For the next while, the trail criss crosses over a creek and drainage and is punctuated by several ladder bridges. They are fun, but do make for some careful riding so as not to end up in the water, as Phil Lewis of the Cat 3 50+ group found out!

Tailing Chris W across a bridge

Tailing Chris W across a bridge

I kept on Chris’s wheel, trying to save up energy to prepare for a next passing opportunity. Once the trail opened up a little, I hear Kirby from behind urge me to get around. I make the pass before heading into the next bit of twisty bits.

The trail continues to twist, turn and cross bridges. Kirby and I make our way around more back markers, but we stop seeing any more riders from our group. I do not have any idea where I sit in the pack.

It is about here where the trail starts turning uphill, and as usual, I urge Kirby around as he is a much stronger climber than I. He jets off and I don’t see him the rest of the race.

I continue motoring on. There is an interesting feature coming up, which is an off camber slab of concrete, with a bridge at the approach and on the other side. You have to be careful here as the bridges only connect on the low side. So if you happen to come in hot and high, you could very well find yourself launching off into no man’s land.

Cement/bridge feature

Cement/bridge feature

The event organizers had placed a course marshal at this feature, and apparently had given instructions to blow loudly on a whistle as riders approached to notify them of the upcoming feature.

Well, I was unaware of said marshal and as I approached and he blew loudly, it broke my concentration and my handlebar hit a tree. Down I went.

I was unscathed and continued onward. I cleared the feature with ease and felt fine.

It was about 2 minutes later that I heard a strange clicking noise coming from the front of the bike. More specifically the handlebar. And more specifically, from where my GoPro is mounted. I looked down and saw that the rear door of my GoPro case was missing, along with the GoPro contained inside.

Well, isn’t that just great. I’m sure that I lost the camera on the crash.

Oh well!

I pedaled onward, passing more backmarkers, and entering the steeper section of the course. I actually gave up 3 positions to riders in my group behind me through the powerline fields and I wondered if I was going to have the energy for a strong finish.

The ‘Brick Climb’ was up ahead, which is a pretty steep incline. I knew going into it that this section was likely going to be a complete log jam as it is so far into the lap and we would be thick in the back riders of the earlier groups. I had no hopes that the way would be clear for a possible non-dismounted climb.

Brick Climb - Add about 10 more bikes and dismounted pushers to this pic

Brick Climb – Add about 10 more bikes and dismounted pushers to this pic

Approaching the hill, 2 of the guys who had passed me stopped at the bottom and mentioned that they were not even going to try. I urged them to give way and I powered up the hill.

I passed the other guy who had passed me (Chris W) as he was dismounted and nearly made it to the top of the bricks, where the trail turns into very loose dirt. I was forced to dismount at this point, but surprised myself in that I had energy to run up the climb the rest of the way to the top, passing yet another 2 guys in my group on the way, as well as 2-3 earlier starters.

On the Brick Climb alone, I had managed to recover my 3 lost positions, and make another 2 passes. But I knew the climbing was far from over. From the top of the brick climb, the trail continues it’s ascent through some tight switchbacks.

Apparently my legs had found some recovery somewhere because all of a sudden, I felt very energized. I don’t know if it was because I didn’t want to give up any more positions or what, but I found that I had plenty of energy to push hard up the climbs.

I pedaled for all I was worth, knowing there was less than 2 miles to go. I asked my legs and lungs to give me all they had left, and they graciously complied. I found that I was making as good a time now as I was at any point on the race and I was feeling strong.

I completed the climb and was happy to hear the cheers of the people lining the trail indicating that the end was nearby. I gave it all I had, with no idea of my placement, but I had assumed I was somewhere around 7-8th place.

Nearing the finish, one last prior group pass

Nearing the finish, one last prior group pass

As I popped out into the final sprint, I went ahead and gave it a healthy sprint, even though there was nobody for me to sprint against.

As I crossed the finish line, I looked around and was surprised to see only John E, David C, and Kirby. Could I possibly have pulled out a 4th place finish after all of that?

Come to find out, indeed I did!

I was very happy with the final placement, and overall very happy with the race.

Now it was time to see about the status of my GoPro. I informed an organizer and the call went out on the radio. Much to my happiness, about 30 minutes later my GoPro was turned in and returned to me!

When I got home, I took a peek at the video on the GoPro. Unfortunately, the video cut out even before the crash and I ended up with only about 20 minutes worth of race footage. I’ll still put a little something together, but it won’t be as good as I would like.

Also took a look at my fork from when Steve C and I bumped on the starting line. His rear tire made an interesting design on my fork!

Hope that'll rub/wash off!  I'm vain like that!

Hope that’ll rub/wash off! I’m vain like that!

Update: Race video here: Big Cedar Mountain Bike Race Video

Race Day Recap:
Weigh In: 157 lbs
Bike weight: 25.8 lbs
Nutrition: Hearty breakfast, breakfast tacos, eggs, potatoes, PB&J Sandwich, 1 honey stinger 15 mins before race, 1/2 water bottle during race
Weather: Clear and sunny, 75 degrees, perfect!
Dress: Bibs and short sleeve jersey
Week lead in: Normal Tuesday Interval workout, skipped Thursday due to bad weather, pre-ride at about 85% pace on day before race
RPE: Rode hard, felt great, 100%
CTL: 55.1
TSB: 6.6 (rising)

TMBRA 2013 Big Cedar Start

The Big Cedar course starts out with a pretty short sprint into the singletrack, followed by a pretty long section [Read more…]

Preparing for Big Cedar

In the 2 weeks between Pace Bend and Big Cedar, a lot happened. Not so much when it comes to cycling, but life interruptions that threatened to make me miss the Big Cedar race.

I was really wanting to make Big Cedar, because quite frankly, I’m running out of opportunities to get my 8 races in for the State Series. Big Cedar was supposedly a tight course with some punchy climbs so that would be good for my style of riding.

I hoped for a top 5 finish to help my place in the standings in by both either getting me closer to being able to bump Jeff Jordan, or at least cementing my position behind him. As it stands, I am going to need to squirrel out and get at least a couple of top 4 finishes to be able to sneak into 6th place in the state series, and make sure to get good finishes to ensure a 7th place finish.

The week after Pace Bend saw a couple of good interval training rides, and then a short trip to Houston for the birth of my new nephew, who I have decided to nick name Pace in honor of him allowing me to make the Pace Bend race by being late!

Additionally, I got out on Thursday before leaving town for Houston for a ride on the Greenbelt with Kirby.

Barton Creek Greenbelt

Barton Creek Greenbelt

In Houston, while killing time with the kiddos, I took my brother-in-laws Schwinn hybrid for a spin. He also has a kid trailer, which I was able to throw the 2yo in and cruise around.

I will say, my brother-in-law has a pretty sweet setup in Kingwood. The bike paths there are amazing! The whole area is laid out perfectly and you can get to all sorts of places by the bike paths. I’m pretty envious of that!

Cruising with the Grommets

Cruising with the Grommets

Upon returning home, I got out for another Greenbelt ride. I rode really well that day and had my first ever ‘No Dab’ while climbing Mulch Hill. I then proceeded to kill it while climbing Sweet 16 as well.

The one downside to the ride was that while on Cheese Grater, I managed to dump the bike. Right onto my rear derailleur. Hard. When it hit, I instantly was concerned that I may have damaged something, and upon turning the pedals, my fears were confirmed. My derailleur was in the spokes and required some pretty hefty pulling to bend the hanger out enough to allow everything to spin clearly.

Fortunately, everything shifted sufficiently and I was able to finish my ride. When I got home I replaced the hanger with my last spare and tweaked the derailleur to get everything shifting smoothly again.

I finished out the week with a couple more road rides before getting everything ready and heading up to Dallas for the Big Cedar race.

I arrived on Friday, and after awaiting Kirby to get there, we headed out on a pre-ride lap to check out the course. The trees were tight, the dirt was loose, and the trail was twisty. It was going to make for an interesting race and I was very thankful that I managed to get away a day early to pre-ride the course. Not pre-riding could have been disastrous for race day.